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How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

by on May 01, 2019
in Privacy, Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos :: 338 comments

From email to banking, our smartphones are the main hub of our online lives. No wonder that smartphones are starting to stack up to computers as common targets for online hackers.  

Security researchers recently revealed one attack campaign that released malicious Android apps that were nearly identical to legitimate secure messaging programs, including WhatsApp and Signal, tricking thousands of people in nearly 20 countries into installing it. These apps were downloaded via a website called Secure Android, and once installed, gave hackers access to photos, location information, audio capture, and message contents. According to EFF Staff Technology Cooper Quentin, of note is that the malware did not involve a sophisticated software exploit, but instead only required “application permissions that users themselves granted when they downloaded the apps, not realizing that they contained malware.”

Malware is often downloaded from non-official sources, including phishing links sent via email or message, as well as malicious websites such as the Secure Android site mentioned above. (While security experts recommend always downloading from official app stores – like the Apple App Store or Google Play – some countries are unable to access certain apps from these sources, for example, secure messaging apps that would allow people to communicate secretly.)

Across the board, mobile malware has been on the riseup – in part due to an increase in political spies trying to break into the devices of persons of interest. Once this malware is online, other criminals are able to exploit compromised devices too. Malware can include spyware that monitors a device’s content, programs that harness a device’s internet bandwidth for use in a botnet to send spam, or phishing screens that steal a user’s logins when entered into a compromised, legitimate app.

Then there are the commercial spy apps that require physical access to download to a phone – often done by those well-known to the victim such as a partner or parent – and which can monitor everything that occurs on the device. 

Not sure if you may have been hacked? We spoke to Josh Galindo, director of training at uBreakiFix, about how to tell a smartphone might have been compromised. And, we explore the seven ways your phone can be hacked and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

6 Signs your phone may have been hacked

1. Noticeable decrease in battery life

While a phone’s battery life inevitably decreases over time, a smartphone that has been compromised by malware may start to display a significantly decreased lifespan. This is because the malware – or spy app – may be using up phone resources to scan the device and transmit the information back to a criminal server.

(That said, simple everyday use can equally deplete a phone’s lifespan. Check if that’s the case by running through these steps for improving your Android or iPhone battery life.)

2. Sluggish performance

Do you find your phone frequently freezing, or certain applications crashing? This could be down to malware that is overloading the phone’s resources or clashing with other applications.

You may also experience continued running of applications despite efforts to close them, or even have the phone itself crash and/or restart repeatedly. 

(As with reduced battery life, many factors could contribute to a slower phone – essentially, its everyday use, so first try deep cleaning your Android or iPhone.)

3. High data usage

Another sign of a compromised phone is an unusually high data bill at the end of the month, which can come from malware or spy apps running in the background, sending information back to its server.

4. Outgoing calls or texts you didn’t send

If you’re seeing lists of calls or texts to numbers you don’t know, be wary – these could be premium-rate numbers that malware is forcing your phone to contact; the proceeds of which land in the cyber-crim’s wallet. In this case, check your phone bill for any costs you don’t recognise.

5. Mystery pop-ups

While not all pop-ups mean your phone has been hacked, constant pop-up alerts could indicate that your phone has been infected with adware, a form of malware that forces devices to view certain pages that drive revenue through clicks. Even if a pop-up isn’t the result of a compromised phone, many may be phishing links that attempt to get users to type in sensitive info – or download more malware. The vast majority of such pop-ups can be neutralised simply by shutting the window – though be sure you’re clicking the right X, as many are designed to shunt users towards clicking an area that instead opens up the target, sometimes malicious, site.

6. Unusual activity on any accounts linked to the device

If a hacker has access to your phone, they also have access to its accounts – from social media to email to various lifestyle or productivity apps. This could reveal itself in activity on your accounts, such as resetting a password, sending emails, marking unread emails that you don’t remember reading, or signing up for new accounts whose verification emails land in your inbox.

In this case, you could be at risk for identity fraud, where criminals open new accounts or lines of credit in your name, using information taken from your breached accounts. It’s a good idea to change your passwords – without updating them on your phone – before running a security sweep on your phone itself.

SOS steps

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms of a hacked smartphone, the best first step is to download a mobile security app.

For Android, we like Avast, which not only scans for malware but offers a call blocker, firewall, VPN, and a feature to request a PIN every time certain apps are used – preventing malware from opening sensitive apps such as your online banking.

iPhones may be less prone to hacks, but they aren’t totally immune. Lookout for iOS flags apps that are acting maliciously, potentially dangerous Wi-Fi networks,  and if the iPhone has been jailbroken (which increases its risk for hacking). It’s free, with $9.99/month for identity protection, including alerts of logins being exposed. 

Who would hack your phone?

By now, government spying is such a common refrain that we may have become desensitized to the notion that the NSA taps our phone calls or the FBI can hack our computers whenever it wants. Yet there are other technological means – and motives – for hackers, criminals and even the people we know, such as a spouse or employer, to hack into our phones and invade our privacy.

7 ways your phone can be hacked

From targeted breaches and vendetta-fueled snooping to opportunistic land grabs for the data of the unsuspecting, here are seven ways someone could be spying on your cell phone – and what you can do about it.

1. Spy apps

There is a glut of phone monitoring apps designed to covertly track someone’s location and snoop on their communications. Many are advertised to suspicious partners or distrustful employers, but still more are marketed as a legitimate tool for safety-concerned parents to keep tabs on their kids. Such apps can be used to remotely view text messages, emails, internet history, and photos; log phone calls and GPS locations; some may even hijack the phone’s mic to record conversations made in person. Basically, almost anything a hacker could possible want to do with your phone, these apps would allow.

And this isn’t just empty rhetoric. When we studied cell phone spying apps back in 2013, we found they could do everything they promised. Worse, they were easy for anyone to install, and the person who was being spied on would be none the wiser that there every move was being tracked.

“There aren’t too many indicators of a hidden spy app – you might see more internet traffic on your bill, or your battery life may be shorter than usual because the app is reporting back to a third-party,” says Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist at security firm Sophos.

Likelihood

Spy apps are available on Google Play, as well as non-official stores for iOS and Android apps, making it pretty easy for anyone with access to your phone (and a motive) to download one.

How to protect yourself

  • Since installing spy apps require physical access to your device, putting a passcode on your phone greatly reduces the chances of someone being able to access your phone in the first place. And since spy apps are often installed by someone close to you (think spouse or significant other), pick a code that won’t be guessed by anyone else.
  • Go through your apps list for ones you don’t recognize.
  • Don’t jailbreak your iPhone. “If a device isn’t jailbroken, all apps show up,” says Wisniewski. “If it is jailbroken, spy apps are able to hide deep in the device, and whether security software can find it depends on the sophistication of the spy app [because security software scans for known malware].”
  • For iPhones, ensuring you phone isn’t jailbroken also prevents anyone from downloading a spy app to your phone, since such software – which tampers with system-level functions - doesn’t make it onto the App Store.
  • Download a mobile security app. For Android, we like Avast and for iOS, we recommend Lookout for iOS.

2. Phishing by message

Whether it’s a text claiming to be from your financial institution, or a friend exhorting you to check out this photo of you last night, SMSes containing deceptive links that aim to scrape sensitive information (otherwise known as phishing or “smishing”) continue to make the rounds.

Android phones may also fall prey to messages with links to download malicious apps. (The same scam isn’t prevalent for iPhones, which are commonly non-jailbroken and therefore can’t download apps from anywhere except the App Store.)

Such malicious apps may expose a user’s phone data, or contain a phishing overlay designed to steal login information from targeted apps – for example, a user’s bank or email app.

Likelihood

Quite likely. Though people have learned to be skeptical of emails asking them to “click to see this funny video!”, security lab Kaspersky notes that they tend to be less wary on their phones.

How to protect yourself

  • Keep in mind how you usually verify your identity with various accounts – for example, your bank will never ask you to input your full password or PIN.
  • Avoid clicking links from numbers you don’t know, or in curiously vague messages from friends, especially if you can’t see the full URL.
  • If you do click on the link and end up downloading an app, your Android phone should notify you. Delete the app and/or run a mobile security scan.

3. SS7 global phone network vulnerability

A communication protocol for mobile networks across the world, Signalling System No 7 (SS7), has a vulnerability that lets hackers spy on text messages, phone calls and locations, armed only with someone’s mobile phone number. An added concern is that text message is a common means to receive two-factor authentication codes from, say, email services or financial institutions – if these are intercepted, an enterprising hacker could access protected accounts, wrecking financial and personal havoc.

According to security researcher Karsten Nohl, law enforcement and intelligence agencies use the exploit to intercept cell phone data, and hence don’t necessarily have great incentive to seeing that it gets patched.

Likelihood

Extremely unlikely, unless you’re a political leader, CEO or other person whose communications could hold high worth for criminals. Journalists or dissidents travelling in politically restless countries may be at an elevated risk for phone tapping.

How to protect yourself

  • Use an end-to-end encrypted message service that works over the internet (thus bypassing the SS7 protocol), says Wisniewski. WhatsApp (free, iOS/Android), Signal (free, iOS/Android) and Wickr Me (free, iOS/Android) all encrypt messages and calls, preventing anyone from intercepting or interfering with your communications.
  • Be aware that if you are in a potentially targeted group your phone conversations could be monitored and act accordingly.

4. Snooping via open Wi-Fi networks

Thought that password-free Wi-Fi network with full signal bars was too good to be true? It might just be. Eavesdroppers on an unsecured Wi-Fi network can view all its unencrypted traffic. And nefarious public hotspots can redirect you to lookalike banking or email sites designed to capture your username and password. And it’s not necessarily a shifty manager of the establishment you’re frequenting. For example, someone physically across the road from a popular coffee chain could set up a login-free Wi-Fi network named after the café, in hopes of catching useful login details for sale or identity theft.

Likelihood

Any tech-savvy person could potentially download the necessary software to intercept and analyze Wi-Fi traffic – including your neighbor having a laugh at your expense (you weren’t browsing NSFW websites again, were you?).

How to protect yourself

  • Only use secured networks where all traffic is encrypted by default during transmission to prevent others from snooping on your Wi-Fi signal.
  • Download a VPN app to encrypt your smartphone traffic. ExpressVPN (Android/iOS, from $6.67/month) is a great all-round choice that offers multi-device protection, for your tablet and laptop for example. 
  • If you must connect to a public network and don’t have a VPN app, avoid entering in login details for banking sites or email. If you can’t avoid it, ensure the URL in your browser address bar is the correct one. And never enter private information unless you have a secure connection to the other site (look for “https” in the URL and a green lock icon in the address bar).

5. Unauthorized access to iCloud or Google account

Hacked iCloud and Google accounts offer access to an astounding amount of information backed up from your smartphone – photos, phonebooks, current location, messages, call logs and in the case of the iCloud Keychain, saved passwords to email accounts, browsers and other apps. And there are spyware sellers out there who specifically market their products against these vulnerabilities.

Online criminals may not find much value in the photos of regular folk – unlike nude pictures of celebrities that are quickly leaked– but they know the owners of the photos do, says Wisniewski, which can lead to accounts and their content being held digitally hostage unless victims pay a ransom.

Additionally, a cracked Google account means a cracked Gmail, the primary email for many users.

Having access to a primary email can lead to domino-effect hacking of all the accounts that email is linked to – from your Facebook account to your mobile carrier account, paving the way for a depth of identity theft that would seriously compromise your credit.

Likelihood

“This is a big risk. All an attacker needs is an email address; not access to the phone, nor the phone number,” Wisniewski says. If you happen to use your name in your email address, your primary email address to sign up for iCloud/Google, and a weak password that incorporates personally identifiable information, it wouldn’t be difficult for a hacker who can easily glean such information from social networks or search engines.

How to protect yourself

  • Create a strong password for these key accounts (and as always, your email).
  • Enable login notifications so you’re aware of sign-ins from new computers or locations.
  • Enable two-factor authentication so that even if someone discovers your password they can’t access your account without access to your phone.
  • To prevent someone resetting your password, lie when setting up password security questions. You would be amazed how many security questions rely on information that is easily available on the Internet or is widely known by your family and friends.

6. Malicious charging stations

Well-chosen for a time when smartphones barely last the day and Google is the main way to not get lost, this hack leverages our ubiquitous need for juicing our phone battery, malware be damned. Malicious charging stations – including malware-loaded computers – take advantage of the fact that standard USB cables transfer data as well as charge battery. Older Android phones may even automatically mount the hard drive upon connection to any computer, exposing its data to an unscrupulous owner.

Security researchers have also shown it’s possible to hijack the video-out feature on most recent phones so that when plugged into a malicious charge hub, a hacker can monitor every keystroke, including passwords and sensitive data.

Likelihood

Low. There are no widely known instances of hackers exploiting the video-out function, while newer Android phones ask for permission to load their hard drive when plugged into a new computer; iPhones request a PIN. However, new vulnerabilities may be discovered.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t plug into unknown devices; bring a wall charger. You might want to invest in a charge-only USB cable like PortaPow ($6.99 on Amazon)
  • If a public computer is your only option to revive a dead battery, select the “Charge only” option (Android phones) if you get a pop-up when you plug in, or deny access from the other computer (iPhone).

7. FBI’s StingRay (and other fake cellular towers)

An ongoing initiative by the FBI to tap phones in the course of criminal investigations (or indeed, peaceful protests) involves the use of cellular surveillance devices (the eponymous StingRays) that mimic bona fide network towers.

StingRays, and similar pretender wireless carrier towers, force nearby cell phones to drop their existing carrier connection to connect to the StingRay instead, allowing the device’s operators to monitor calls and texts made by these phones, their movements, and the numbers of who they text and call.

As StingRays have a radius of about 1km, an attempt to monitor a suspect’s phone in a crowded city center could amount to tens of thousands of phones being tapped.

Until late 2015, warrants weren’t required for StingRay-enabled cellphone tracking; currently, around a dozen states outlaw the use of eavesdropping tech unless in criminal investigations, yet many agencies don’t obtain warrants for their use.

Likelihood

While the average citizen isn’t the target of a StingRay operation, it’s impossible to know what is done with extraneous data captured from non-targets, thanks to tight-lipped federal agencies.

How to protect yourself

  • Use encrypted messaging and voice call apps, particularly if you enter a situation that could be of government interest, such as a protest. Signal (free, iOS/Android) and Wickr Me (free, iOS/Android) both encrypt messages and calls, preventing anyone from intercepting or interfering with your communications. Most encryption in use today isn’t breakable, says Wisniewski, and a single phone call would take 10-15 years to decrypt.

“The challenging thing is, what the police have legal power to do, hackers can do the same,” Wisniewski says. “We’re no longer in the realm of technology that costs millions and which only the military have access to. Individuals with intent to interfere with communications have the ability to do so.”

From security insiders to less tech-savvy folk, many are already moving away from traditional, unencrypted communications – and perhaps in several years, it’ll be unthinkable that we ever allowed our private conversations and information to fly through the ether unprotected.

Updated on 5/1/2019

[image credit: hacker smartphone concept via BigStockPhoto]



Discussion loading

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Txt message

From Ijim on January 31, 2018 :: 9:18 am

My wife’s phone supposedly has been hacked her text messages are between two people supposedly her and someone else can a hacker put up these messages

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how to tell if phone is hacked

From Kimberly on February 10, 2018 :: 7:17 pm

My cell phone bill is very high a lot of Gig a bite’s used and I hardly use it ? what do I do also I’m locked out of my Apps I could really use some help

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Not clear what is happening

From Josh Kirschner on February 12, 2018 :: 4:00 pm

You didn’t say what type of phone you have, but you can see what apps are using data in Settings>Cellular>Usage on iPhone or Settings>Network & Internet>Data Usage>Mobile Data Usage on Android to see what apps are using your data (these settings may vary slightly depending on what version of Android/iOS you’re running and your phone manufacturer.

As far as being locked out of your apps, I don’t understand what you mean by that. Can you elaborate?

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Confused

From Dani on February 15, 2018 :: 11:17 pm

So, out of vulnerability I did a survey for an Amazon gift card stupidly, put in my number and email. Is there a possibility of getting hacked and how would I know? Please help!

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Hacked? No. Spam? Yes.

From Josh Kirschner on February 16, 2018 :: 11:35 am

There’s no way someone can hack you just by knowing your phone number and email address. However, it does open you up for phishing type attacks. That said, these gift card things are usually a way of collecting info so they can spam you and resell your email address to others to spam you.

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Last resort.

From SKM on February 18, 2018 :: 3:36 am

After reading through all of the messages to you, I was relieved to see you still are responding. And shocked, I must say.  I have had suspicions that my husband has been tracking my phones for the last 6 or so years. It’s past suspicion, I know, but being that no matter what I do, nothing changes. I’ve learned to just turne a blind eye bc at some point it can drive oneself mad. A few examples: My text messages have shown as duplicates on my bill, for a few years with ATT and now Sprint. My Usage shows in gigabytes. Completely disproportionate from my actual usage. I read your older post before this one, and saw what I had expected all along about the “android system” showing in my app info. I had done all I could with android and felt too vulnerable, so finally switched back to IPhones. I have the strangest system diagnostic show up. He acts ignorant to all things phone related, yet is a frequent follower of Github. He is a gamer, and always has to the best electronics. And for just our household he has to always have what he deems the best for computer equipment. He is very savvy. We have an Asus dual band 802.11 AC gigabyte router, which makes me wonder if the hacking is network related. I’ve done everything you have said and more. I change passwords, I stopped using FB or any other social media site bc I didn’t want to make it any easier. I have read so many books trying to learn anything I can about all things computers: networks, p2p, java, coding (mainly bc I found a file on his computer with so much code, much of it with target 0 and I thought that may be the key). Much of it doesn’t soak in. It’s hard to when I have to constantly look up what what thing means just to turn around and have to look up another. Programing is just not in the cards for me!
I know you are busy, but anything you can do to help would be so greatly appreciated. I will gladly pay for your services. I look forward to hearing from you. I’ll be checking my email! Thank you!

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Follow our advice above first, then deal with bigger issue

From Josh Kirschner on February 20, 2018 :: 5:33 pm

From what you said in your note I’m not clear on why you think you’re being spied on, beyond excess data usage (which you can check in your settings to to see what apps are using your data). My daughter had HUGE data usage (GBs) simply because she had her Instagram set to download data in the background. Once we changed that on her phone, her data dropped significantly.

With the iPhone, it’s very difficult to spy on someone unless their iPhone is jailbroken or they have access to your iCloud account. If neither of those things is true, then it probably isn’t happening, but you can always reset your phone to confirm and ensure you have a lock feature that no one can bypass except for you in the future.

You can easily monitor network traffic via a home network if you know what you’re doing, but that wouldn’t be true for text messages or any encrypted connections (https).

Perhaps the more fundamental question you need to ask is not a technical one, but a human one. If you and your husband don’t have a basic level of trust, and you haven’t for at least the six years you think he has been spying on you, isn’t that the real issue? Because even if I could prove to you that he was spying on your phone (or that he wasn’t), resolving that doesn’t change the relationship issues that are causing the situation you’re writing in about - those will still be there long after your phone issues are resolved and will just foment themselves in other ways.

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Hey josh- how would u

From Anon on July 08, 2018 :: 3:04 pm

Hey josh- how would u monitor home traffic?

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The easiest way is through your router

From Josh Kirschner on July 08, 2018 :: 8:46 pm

Many home routers offer logs or built-in parental control features that let you see what sites are being visited. There are also “sniffer” programs that let you monitor network activity from a computer. A quick Google search will provide more info for you if you’re interested in getting into the details.

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I dont feel alone...

From Pool Boy on November 16, 2018 :: 11:05 pm

All i can say is wow…i have ben reading and feeling the same exact way for almist as long..i know its there..follwing me my number..etc..when i sked her about code she acted stupid although i saw apps on her laptop that when i looked them up it was for coding are related to help (ssh) she denies then they disapear…. She runs all internet so to say networks etc..she runs to mailbox to always “get” mail..i find shredded are mail coming in to her as prepaid cards she laffs o thats junk…i dont get those..she has tons of “Aliases” i think they call them..but point…when i find something online. Its like im denied..get error are i never find again..especially after Google sets in.

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Help.. hacked?

From MB on February 21, 2018 :: 4:19 pm

I got 2 messages from an unrecognized number giving me “info on my BF cheating”. There was info that was accurate enough to where they knew personal info. When I reached out to him, via phone and text he never responded… very odd given our ages and the fact that I’ve known him literally our entire life. Could someone have hacked or blocked my messages to him?

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It's possible

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2018 :: 3:19 pm

It’s possible that your messages are being blocked, but it would more likely be something that someone (your boyfriend or someone with access to his phone) did on your boyfriend’s phone (simple number block), rather than hacking. It’s also possible that your boyfriend is cheating, knows you know, and is just ignoring your calls/messages.

The fix here is probably an in-person conversation with your boyfriend.

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Can you literally watch someone from a thousand miles away?

From Dex on February 27, 2018 :: 9:00 pm

A friend of mine said that her boyfriend claimed to have visual coverage over her whilst he was in Europe. Not just a GPS location but that he claimed that he could see what she was doing and who or what was close to her. I told her he is bluffing but she claimed otherwise. I need clarification as to whether or not such tech is accessible to civilians and if so is it true that you can see someone in real time? Need some clarification…..

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Yes, it's possible

From Josh Kirschner on February 28, 2018 :: 2:42 am

If you read our story on cell phone spying apps we linked to above (https://www.techlicious.com/review/android-spyware-apps-how-dangerous-are-they/), you’ll see that these apps would allow a spy to use the phone’s camera and microphone to spy on the person and their surroundings. So if her boyfriend installed one of these apps on her phone then, yes, he could have been spying on her even when she was in Europe since these spy apps can be controlled anywhere via the Internet.

While that is a possibility, it’s certainly not possible that he could have been spying on her by hacking global security/traffic cameras or spy satellites - that is purely in the realm of fiction (with acknowledgement that it is possible in limited scenarios for nation state law enforcement and spy operations).

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Explain this

From Cynthia Snook on March 01, 2018 :: 1:22 am

My phone said “attention”,while I was texting.In the Google lady’s voice?

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My phone did the same sort of thing

From Mely on March 24, 2019 :: 2:07 pm

Someone spoke to me through my phone and referenced my place of employment, what the hell is this and how?!

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I guess you not gonna answer

From Cynthia Snook on March 02, 2018 :: 11:23 am

I was waiting for an answer to why my phone spoke by itself while I was texting someone .In the Google lady’s voice it said “attention”.That was

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Hello,why you ignore my question?

From Cynthia Snook on March 07, 2018 :: 8:16 pm

I have posted three times.I want to know why my phone would talk by itself when I’m actually texting someone else.The phone said in the Google lady’s voice,“attention” and that was all?

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Here's your answer

From Josh Kirschner on March 08, 2018 :: 3:44 am

I have no idea why your phone said attention. Since it apparently only happened once, it was probably just some random combination of factors. It doesn’t sound like anything related to hacking.

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Caller Changes to unknown whilst on a call

From Pegz on March 07, 2018 :: 10:47 pm

When on a call, the name of the caller changes to unknown and the timer restarts. What does that mean?

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Not sure, but have a guess

From Josh Kirschner on March 08, 2018 :: 10:15 pm

That’s not an issue I’ve heard of before. I’m guessing that it may be some error of handoff when your phone is switching between cell towers, or perhaps when the phone is switching between cellular and Wi-Fi calling. It doesn’t sound to me like a spyware issue.

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Helloooo ,why won't you reply?

From Cynthia Snook on March 07, 2018 :: 11:21 pm

Is there any particular reason I’m getting ignored on this forum? I asked my question three times!

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your'e an a$$

From noname on May 21, 2019 :: 3:04 pm

Lady chill out. Maybe instead of using your cell phone, go grab some Xanax or something.

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Umm okay then

From Cynthia Snook on March 07, 2018 :: 11:22 pm

Gee thanks for nothing!

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Also Gang Stalked (Toronto, Canada)

From Melissa b on March 08, 2018 :: 9:19 pm

I have been hacked and stalked by a religious vigilante group because I am a disabled sex worker and they don’t want me living in their building anymore which is beside their Catholic Church parish :(

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Well is there anything that

From Cynthia Snook on March 17, 2018 :: 11:40 am

Well is there anything that you can tell me what those factors are that you said it could be a combination of,if not hacked then please explain something?

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Just guessing

From Josh Kirschner on March 18, 2018 :: 7:55 pm

Weird stuff happens with tech all the time. If it is repeatable, you can try to track down the cause. If it’s a minor one-time thing, it can be extremely difficult to determine what happened. If I had to venture a guess, you probably had a video or ad that popped up for a moment in the background, and the “attention” you heard was from that. It may have sounded like the Google voice, but probably wasn’t. That’s the best guess I’ve got.

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I'm sure of one thing

From Cynthia Lyn Snook on March 30, 2018 :: 4:54 am

That was Google lady’s voice.That is something I’m positive about that’s why it’s tripping me out

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Wifes phone hacked

From David on March 23, 2018 :: 5:49 pm

My wife recently had her bank card used by a 3rd party. They also had her ebay and paypal accts and her google was tried to be logged on to from iraq. Im guessing her phone was hacked. Didnt find any new or unrecognized apps. We did recently buy a longer usb cord off of amazon. Could that be the source of her info being hacked?

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May not be phone hacking

From Josh Kirschner on March 23, 2018 :: 6:15 pm

It doesn’t sound like phone hacking. If someone has access to multiple accounts that sounds more like her passwords have been compromised through a breach, or poor password management or both. It’s theoretically possible that someone could create a USB cable that would hack devices plugged into it, but I haven’t heard of that threat existing in real life and the information that could be pulled off this way from a smartphone would be limited.

Assuming your wife has already changed her logins for those sites, she can see what credentials may have been leaked through breaches by reading this article: https://www.techlicious.com/blog/find-out-if-your-password-has-been-compromised/. You should also install anti-malware on your computer and phone and do full scans.

But my bet right now would be on the data breach/bad password angle.

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Hacked

From Martin on March 28, 2018 :: 8:31 pm

So what does it mean when I go into my Verizon and it says I send pictures to numbers I don’t know and it says I received and sent them

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Now my Gmail is hacked

From Jackie on March 29, 2018 :: 10:36 pm

Hi Josh
I commented here a few months ago regarding my hacked phone.  Now I have had a new incident aND I hope you can explain it.
I sent an email to someone using an address provided on their business website. I then left my phone charging while I was out of the house and no one had access to my phone.

When I next turned on my phone I noticed that the email had been returned to me, at 3:44 as undeliverable.  I also noticed that at that exact same time an email I had sent out several weeks ago to reply to a Craigslist ad about a house rental, had oddly been sent back to me. I was puzzled why that happened weeks after I had replied to the ad, but the weirdest thing was I noticed 2 drafts were opened in my email program, both at 3:44.

When I opened them I saw that one was blank and that the other said “Wow…you’re something aren’t you”? This one seemed to have been sent thru Craigslist.

Any ideas how someone was able to hack my email…it seems they somehow used the Craigslist relay email to do this.

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Can Nokias be hacked

From James Williams on April 01, 2018 :: 7:59 pm

My nokia is not a smartphone. A couple of weeks ago I attended a public protest in London. Since then the battery has needed charging 5 times as much as normal. At one stage I was using my camcorder to film an arrest. When I got home I found the film of that scene had been tampered with and wouldn’t show. Could my phone have been hacked too?

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Can a Nokia be hacked?

From James Williams on April 02, 2018 :: 6:13 am

I was filming a protest demo a couple of weeks back and found the footage on my camera of an arrest being made had been scrambled. Also, my Nokia phone battery had drained very quickly. The battery on the Nokia has struggled ever since and yet there were no problems previously. Did the police use some tech to damage my Nokia and to cause the battery to drain?

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I doubt it

From Josh Kirschner on April 02, 2018 :: 11:13 am

I’ve never heard of technology that could scramble modern cameras in this manner and it seems highly dubious that would be the cause of your video issue. If someone has information that says otherwise, I would like to see it. If you’re using an old video tape camera, I could see how you might be able to do this with strong magnetic or electronic fields, but doing so would create issues for all sorts of devices, not just your camera, and why would the police implement tech to block 30-year old devices?

As for the battery on your phone, I don’t see a connection there for the same reasons.

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It is possible, wife and brother witnessed

From BlowNminds on May 18, 2019 :: 1:47 am

Approx 2 months ago, my android out of blue stopped taking pics of the aircraft around home. Mainly military as I live close to Navy base in Florida. After 3 or 4 pics and a quick look @ pics just taken, nothing but sky. I asked wife to come out back and take pic if military copter circling, at same time put my phone up to show her the aircraft did not show yet would in hers. We did this 5 or 6 times over next couple of hours with same result. Brother stopped by a little later and thankfully was able to witness this as well. Freaked em out quite a bit, myself have seen stranger things. Regardless I am thankful for 2 witnesses but stunned at how and why it happened. Eventually few weeks later I was able to take pics of the aircraft again as I have been for past 4+ years.

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@James Williams.

From RYAN on May 02, 2018 :: 12:57 am

I can tell you this much. I don’t at all doubt that they can scramble video in this way. Even if the tech isn’t well known yet.

I can tell you in my personal experience, I taking video of a bunch of military choppers that we’re flying over my house here in Los Angeles one time, and my phone battery suddenly died, and never worked again. Then on another occasion, I was filming some strange orb like balls of light that we’re moving around the sky above my house with an actual video camera, and suddenly the battery died, and never worked again. Haha.

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iPhone 6s

From Sara on April 09, 2018 :: 2:57 am

I plugged my phone in at the airport charging stations and a green bar popped up on the bottom of my screen. I don’t know if I’ve been hacked or not but I’m worried… someone help!!

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Have I been hacked or does my phone just suck

From Danielle on April 16, 2018 :: 2:16 am

I can be in the middle of doing anything on my phone and all of a sudden it kicks me out. Sometimes I can retrieve it from being minimized, but sometimes it isn’t even available to pull back up. Also I notice settings on my phone that I don’t recall making. Is this a hack, what can I do? I’ve changed passwords for the most part, and have a backup security access for accounts but am worried that it is not enough for these clever criminals.. Able to help, please do!!!!

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Probably an non-spy app causing issues

From Josh Kirschner on April 16, 2018 :: 12:34 pm

Chances are, your issues are being caused by an app not working as it should or a system problem. You don’t say what settings, specifically, have changed, though if you’ve downloaded an antispyware app like Lookout Security and it hasn’t found anything, I wouldn’t worry about spying.

Either way, the best solution is to do a factory reset on your phone (backup you data first) and then only reload those apps you really need.

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Was I hacked I dont know what to do?

From David Chance Snyder on April 17, 2018 :: 1:22 pm

I had a purchase from a online dating site with my phone and credit card information and I didn’t do it and last night I had a thing pop up on my phone telling me my phone was hacked could this have been true and my phone was hacked and if so could they have done all that with the online dating services because I’m a married man there’s no way I would do something like that I don’t know what to do or tell me wife… need advise asap thanks

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Most likely not connected

From Josh Kirschner on April 17, 2018 :: 2:43 pm

Unless it was a antimalware app that you have installed on your phone warning you about a specific threat, the message you saw on your phone was almost certainly a scam. Those messages pop up on sketchy sites (or non-sketchy sites that have been hacked) and then get you to download some equally sketchy “security” app, which at best does nothing, and at worst is spyware.

If you’re concerned about the security of your device, get Lookout Security or an app from another well-known, reputable vendor, like Norton, Kaspersky or Bitdefender. Then scan for malware and keep yourself protected on an ongoing basis.

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Phone number used to harass others.

From Cheryl on April 19, 2018 :: 4:04 pm

Someone calls me and swears they keep getting calls from my phone number. They call the number right back and it is mine. But I know that NO call was made from my phone. I was charging the phone and it was sitting right in front of me. How can a call be made to someone from another phone and come up as another person’s number?!?

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Number spoofing

From Josh Kirschner on April 19, 2018 :: 4:37 pm

Spoofing a phone number is not hard to do and common among spammers. A typical approach now is to spoof the area code and exchange (the first three digits) of a number being called to make that person think it’s someone in their neighborhood. For example, if a spammer is calling 212-555-1111, they may spoof their number to make it look like the call is coming from 212-555-2222.  If that second number happens to be your number, then the person getting the spam call will think you’re the one calling them.

So your next question may be, “How can I stop it?” And the answer is, you can’t. Only the phone carriers can come up with a solution that will prevent spoofing and spam calls. The FCC and others have been looking for ways to address this, but, so far, we’ve just had to twiddle our thumbs waiting for them to act.

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I don’t know if my phone has been hacked, but

From Janice on April 23, 2018 :: 9:43 am

The screen will shake after I press the home button from viewing text messages, I’ve sent myself emails from websites (apparently. I haven’t actually done that. It just says that I’ve sent them to myself), and I was followed from work two weeks ago. The phone in question was one that I purchased for my ex to use for Lyft in October of last year. He tried to stab me and was sent to jail. I received the phone from his sister (as Maryland put him under a no contact restraining order) and it’s been really bizarre since. My WiFi router now has a zebra installed in it, my location is always tracked even though I disabled it. My current boyfriend thought I was bananas until the police escorted me home on the night I was followed from work. I tried to sell one of my televisions (as I never use it) and a district attorney from Maryland started following the items I was selling. Everyone interested in the television had literally no information about them anywhere online and, if they did, it was always linked back to law enforcement. I can find no information about the case online or my ex boyfriend aside from the fact that he was charged initially unless I search from a different device. This is literally driving me nuts. I just want to live peacefully. I go to work and come home. I’m afraid to leave my apartment or go out and do anything unless someone else is with me. I’m scared of everything. I don’t know what to do.

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Gangstalking

From RYAN on May 02, 2018 :: 1:43 am

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MEANT FOR THE FOLKS THAT ARE BEING STALKED BY AN EX, OR SOMONE THAT THEY KNOW. ITS MEANT FOR TARGETED INDIVIDUALS.I DONT WANT TO CONFUSE ANYONE. Sorry for the caps.

I was one of the first people to mention gangstalking on this, and a related posted. I had a victim of gangstalking since late 2011. I’m happy to tell everyone, and all the TI’s out there that I don’t think I’m being stalked anymore. I’m no longer hearing the voices. I may have found the way out.

I’m going to be honest and say that I was using meth during the time I was being stalked. And I’m no longer using. However, if you’re. TI, you probably know that it’s easy for people to blame your being stalked on mental illness, or if you use drugs, they can say it’s paranoia, or psychosis. And hey maybe some of it is. BUT, if you’re a true TI, you know what you’re experiencing. And I know what I was dealing with for 7 years.

If you’re a TI, you’re probably a good person. Someone with empathy. A person that cares about the things, and people in this world that others don’t. An exceptional person in many ways. However you’re probably also engaging in some kind of deep sin. KEEP READING. Haha, I know you think some holy roller thing is coming now. But let me tell you, if you do what I’m telling you, the voices will probably stop. As will the stalking.

I have come to the very real reality, that there is a heavy demonic involvement in Gangstalking. If you’re a TI, and you’re using drugs, and or engaging in sexual immorality, or walking in any known sin. Ask God for help in turning away from the sin and to him. Then stop using or walking in that sin. Your withdrawals, and cravings for the drug, or the sin you were walking in will go away. The voices and the stalking will go with them. I know for a 100% fact that all the voices I was hearing were demons now.  Because it was all made known to me by them, and God. Go to God with sin and he will help you turn from it. I’m now months off the drugs and sin and I have not had a craving for the drug since day 3 of quitting. If I even think about the drug my stomach turns. That amazing. I will never use again. He will do it for you too. Drugs, sex, ego, pride whatever it is. He will straighten you out in amazing ways

Understand TI’s, there is a reason you’ve come under attack. And you’re probably trying to figure out exactly why. You’re probably thinking why a good person like you would be getting targeted. Well, it’s because you have a purpose. And you’ve been targeted by God himself. He’s trying to turn you from your sin, and you bring you to him. He will humble you, and let you see you will not be able to overcome this on your own, until you reach out to him.

I did, and I’m now addiction, lust, and gangstalking free.

I challenge you to do it, and prove me wrong.

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I believe u 💯👏

From BlowNminds on May 18, 2019 :: 1:58 am

Makes sense, not to mention I had the same thoughts on the subject for many years now. I like to believe God wants to save as many as possible during these dark days but it is also possible for some cases anyways, man playing God. The technology is there, the drugs and mental interferance that goes along with allows the paranoia and victim Ripe for the taking. Possibly it could be both at same time as well. Regardless I agree you speak truth that I share, which needs to continuously reshared as often as possible.

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Spied/Stalked on for 4 years

From Michelle Jackson on May 05, 2018 :: 10:31 pm

Finally! I’ve found a forum that can assist me!! I have bought new phones iPhones android had over 100 email addresses, Facebook addresses taken over… vpns dont help… nor does malwarebytes.. sophos… etc.  None of them…

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I think my phone is hacked

From Beth on May 06, 2018 :: 6:08 pm

My question is I think my boy friend hacked my phone but not sure , he knew all the people I was talking to on messanger , is this possible?

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Did you follow the steps above?

From Josh Kirschner on May 07, 2018 :: 12:06 pm

You can use the steps above to determine if your phone has been hacked and what to do about it. However, it may have nothing to do with your phone - not clear which messenger app you’re referring to, but if he has or an guess your login credentials for that, then he would be able ot see all of your conversations.

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